I, like many knitters, have been dabbling in a little design work here and there for awhile. Just small things, like panels for baby socks, tiny people and animals, and the occasional somewhat short-waisted baby sweater.

So when I was asked to design and knit a half-length shawl for a fund-raiser my zoo is throwing in June, I was both excited and horrified. I have never attempted to design anything as exciting as a lace shawl, and I’m not the fastest knitter in the world. And there is one more thing you should know about my typical knitting designs – but if you are a knitter, you might want to sit down first.

I don’t like to do knitting maths.

That’s right, my typical design method is to just start knitting and eye-ball things. Little or no swatching. Definitely no calculator. Occasional rip-backs because I fouled it up too badly to fix on the fly. This is making the shawl project (using tiny yarn, tiny needles, beading and lace) more difficult than it should be. But, as per usual, I will just continue to knit until I either have a disaster or a shawl. I will be taking it to the Caribbean next week (because lace-weight alpaca LOVES the beach), and hope to have some lovely pictures of it for you soon.

For those of you who might be interested in doing something similar – I recommend getting in touch with your favorite local non-profit organization. I have noticed that many organizations and schools hold silent auctions, and are often very excited to be able to offer one of a kind items by local artists.

In case you live in the Philadelphia area and are interested in obtaining this monstrosity work of art, it will be auctioned off at Elmwood Park Zoo’s Beast of a Feast on June 4th. Proceeds go towards funding the zoo so it can continue to educate and promote conservation efforts, as well as towards a conservation project in South America.